A Gift of Butterflies
Click on image to enlarge.
by David Toft
Description: When, with just a fluttering of butterflies in your stomach, all your enemies will die; you must be very, very careful how you treat your friends.
eBook Publisher: Wings ePress, Inc., 2010 March 2010
eBookwise Release Date: March 2010
2 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [360 KB]
Reading time: 232-325 min.
Bruner only managed an answering grunt in response to Mark Aldridge's greeting before dropping back into his seat. His mouth was dry and his forehead damp. He fought back a desire to loosen his tie. The air in the room appeared to have risen in temperature by at least ten degrees. He knew that he had not managed to hide his unease from any of those present, but the power that they were dealing with terrified him.
He was surprised sometimes that his subordinates lacked the imagination to see what he saw constantly. That if the forces that they were trying to direct decided to turn against them... The room suddenly turned from hot to cold. His eyes darted to the wall-mounted air-conditioning controls. No one had touched them. He was not a nice person, and most of the time he enjoyed the effect that his not being a nice person had on others.
As soon as he had been old enough to break away from the suffocating religious straightjacket in which his parents had imprisoned him, he had run off and joined the Air Force. He swore to himself every night, when he should have been saying his prayers, that he had no need for daily, sometimes hourly repentance. There was no need for the constant fear of the angels sitting at his shoulder and monitoring every sinful thought, every selfish desire. Now he had to answer only to himself. Still, every night, he pictured those angels looking down at him. The angels with his mother's face, their expressions half pity, half disdain.
Fuck off, his mind would scream. I don't need you. You don't exist.
They had disappeared, slowly at first, but as he had climbed the promotional ladder of the USAF and later, more sinister government service, firstly his conscience, then his ability to feel any emotion other than his own cravings had been shut away. Now he felt that they were back and battering at the door behind which he had held them confined for years.
He looked at Mark across the table and just for a second saw his mother again. Here was the retribution that she had promised him, that he had earned with every wicked thought, every churchless, Godless Sunday of his adult life. He had hunted it down, tempted it halfway across the world, and had his agent seduce it. Now he had greeted it and welcomed it. He had shaken hands with it. It would kill him--he knew that it would--then his pain would be eternal. He should have known that he would never be strong enough to better his mother's God.
"And this is Alves," Becky said, breaking into his reverie.